On a cold Saturday morning in mid-February, Nikita Varman and Angel Wu got up at 4 a.m. for what was going to be a very long day. Varman (CAS’19, SAR’19), president of the BU Ballroom Dance Club, and Wu (CGS’17), the club’s public relations coordinator, were checking out last-minute details of the club’s biggest event of the season: the The annual Terrier Dancesport competition, which attracts over 400 ballroom competitors from Northeastern colleges.
Varman and Wu would triple check that the electronic scoring system was working properly and help their teammates get their hair and makeup done before the 8 a.m. start time. The competition was the culmination of months of planning. In addition to lining up judges and finding and inviting teams to compete, Varman says, team members have to take care of a myriad of tasks, from reaching out to other room programs. ballroom in the Northeast to line up prize sponsors to order flowers, food, ribbons and numbers that contestants wear on their backs as they compete.
During the day, 4 to 12 couples at a time took to the Metcalf Ballroom floor, the resplendent women in sparkling ball gowns and suits, the men wearing black vests and slacks and white shirts. , although some have chosen a more formal style. black tie treatment. Women’s outfits can cost up to $ 1,500, but the BU team has a wealth of dresses passed down from year to year that members can use, and a few new outfits are purchased each season, adding to the inventory.
This year’s one-day competition kicked off with Latin and rhythm dance competitions, followed by standard gentle dances. By the end of the day at 7 p.m., the BU ballroom team had placed 31 times in 20 different categories, winning 8 first place prizes.
Founded in 1995, the BU Ballroom Dance Club has hosted the Dancesport competition since 2001. It is one of the two major events that it sponsors each year. The other event is Montage, which takes place in the fall and provides a performance showcase for various dance groups in the BU.
The club recruits members at Splash, the student activities fair held at the start of each school year. Varman, who had never taken up ballroom dancing, was introduced to the team there as a freshman. “I came for the free lesson, but I stayed for the people,” she says.
In addition to hosting presentations and competitions, members go to competitions at other schools (they will compete at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Saturday), and the team runs classes twice a week in the George Sherman Union Alley. , open to all students of the BU, professors, staff and alumni. The lessons are followed by open practice.
Professional teachers offer classes for beginners, intermediates and advanced on Tuesdays (Latin and rhythm) and Thursdays (smooth and standard). The first class is free and subsequent classes are only $ 5. Discounted rates are available: $ 40 gives undergraduates the equivalent of one semester of weekly classes ($ 60 for graduate students, faculty, and staff). The cost is slightly higher to take two lessons per week.
Every Tuesday you will find people of all ages learning to master cha cha, rumba and swing. Thursday is waltz, tango and fox-trot. But open workouts are often the most fun. The Floating Legged Terriers can be found rampaging over songs like Rob Thomas or Ed Sheeran. The atmosphere is light and contagious.
“My favorite feature of the club is the atmosphere,” says Luke Jones (CAS’17), who started dancing in high school and loved it. “Everyone is open with each other here and we have become good friends. The instructors were invaluable. They challenge me from different directions and have helped my posture and balance in my day to day life. The club has changed my life immeasurably.
For others, like Varman, classes and workouts are a great way to reduce stress. “This is where I come just to dance,” she said.
Members put in countless hours — many train at least eight hours a week — but they say it’s fun, not work. And what starts off as a lark for many sometimes leads to romance. “We joke that if you’ve been with your dance partner for four years, you’re probably dating,” says Sarah Wu (COM’17). A number of ballroom alumni who met at the club are still in a relationship, she said.
And often, what members learn on the dance floor influences their lives in unexpected ways. According to club treasurer Patrick Reilly (Questrom’18), “being part of the team has allowed me to learn and improve my skills in something outside of business… More importantly, it has helped me. helped communicate and share feedback with others. “
The BU ballroom dance team will compete in the RPI Dancesport competition at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, tomorrow Saturday March 25. The team will also compete in the MIT Open competition at the Rockwell Cage, 106 Vassar St., Cambridge, on Saturday April 29 and Sunday April 30.
Find more information about the BU Ballroom Dance Club and its team here, or on its Facebook page. Follow the club on Twitter @BUBallroom.
Connor Lenahan can be contacted at [email protected]
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